Author(s): Jo Baker
"'If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats,' Sarah thought, 'she would be more careful not to tramp through muddy fields.'It is wash-day for the housemaids at Longbourn House, and Sarah's hands are chapped and raw. Domestic life below stairs, ruled with a tender heart and an iron will by Mrs Hill the housekeeper, is about to be disturbed by the arrival of a new footman, bearing secrets and the scent of the sea."
If you love Pride and Prejudice, or even if you find it stuffy and unreadable, have a go at this version, told from the servants’ perspective. These are the girls that clean Elizabeth Bennet's muddy boots and calm Mrs. Bennet's oft-shattered nerves. But they also have lives, loves and struggles of their own, which the author fleshes out wonderfully. A real wet weekend read. I loved it. - Lucy
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice below stairs - the story of romance, intrigue, and drama among the servants of the Bennet household
"Inspired...Baker has written an intoxicating love story but, also like Austen, the pleasure of her novel lies in its wit and fierce intelligence. Longbourn is a profound exploration of injustice, of poverty and dependence, of loyalty...a novel that contrives both to provoke the intellect and, ultimately, to stop the heart" Guardian "Jo Baker gives us the story from the servants' perspectives and pulls off the seemingly impossible: a completely fresh take on Jane Austen. Utterly engrossing." Guardian "ONES TO WATCH Just enough Darcy to delight, as well as being a fascinating insight into the harsh working conditions of life in a grand house 200 years ago" Good Housekeeping "Debut novelist Jo Baker takes the reader on a journey back to a version of Regency England that is as much about poverty and war as social comedy and romance" Metro "This clever glimpse of Austen's universe clouded by washday steam is so compelling it leaves you wanting to read the next chapter in the lives below stairs" Daily Express
Jo Baker was educated at Oxford and The Queen's University, Belfast. She lives in Lancaster with her husband, the playwright Daragh Carville, and their two children. Longbourn is due to be made into a film produced by Focus Features.